The Flower Pot

or Morality and Reflection

On a fine Sunday morning the house swep so clean
And a flower pot for ornament plac'd
Compos'd of oak branches so spreading and green
Intermingled with blue-bells the window-board grac'd.
To view their gay colors I rather inclin'd
While resting myself near the wall
Which soon brought morality into my mind
And thus I had model'd their fall.

‘Tho your charms seem so tempting ye gay blooming flowers
‘As to make every stranger look on
‘Yet if I stay here three or four passing hours
‘I shall see you all whither'd and gone!’
But afterwards thinking on what I had said
Reflection soon made me to sigh
And once more reviewing their sweet smelling shade
I suppos'd from the flowers this reply.

‘Vain unthinking mortal how ready thou'rt prone
‘To condemn the short date of our flowers
‘But stop with thy morals—turn the case to thine own!
‘And thou'l find it a deal worse than our's.’
‘For go where thou pluck't us next year o'er the ground
‘There thou'lt find us as gay as before!
‘But when once moralizer thy spring's gone its round
‘It never will blossom no more!’

The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822,
ed. Eric Robinson, David Powell and Margaret Grainger
(Oxford, 2 volumes, I-II, 1989)

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